After winning a contract on Dana White’s Looking for a Fight through FAC, Isaac Dulgarian was all squared away for his debut. “The Midwest Choppa” was given Dan Argueta on the first card of 2023 in the Apex. Having changed home bases to Factory X, Dulgarian was jacked up to show off his new skills and improvements. Unfortunately, his knee had other plans.
“About a week before we were leaving to go to Vegas, I wasn’t even really training hard, I was just training with Brandon Royval and just a freak accident happened,” Dulgarian explained. “It was a position that I’m always in, but I had a full thickness tear of my LCL in two places.”
Luckily for Dulgarian, an LCL injury typically heals much faster than it’s counterparts the ACL or MCL. However, the one injury and recovery would not be all he had to deal with.
“Basically they told me to take 8 weeks off – I took the eight weeks off. I came back to training for two weeks, and it tore again, so then I had to take another 8 weeks off,” he shared. “It was just a mess, but it’s all good now. I’m healthy. I did all the PT and keep working it out every day.”
While there was clearly a phyical toll that Dulgarian had to fight through, that would not be the toughest part for him. Only five fights into his professional career and having just moved halfway across the country, Dulgarian had to deal with the mental and financial tolls as well.
“I definitely need that paycheck. You know, I thought I changed my life with my last fight. I thought I was the “Full Send Fighter” and all this and that. It just didn’t turn out, so I need that pay bad,” Dulgarian admitted. “I’m probably one of the only UFC fighters that lives in an RV now.”
The move to an RV was one he didn’t necessarily have to make, but a sacrifice he did have to make if he wanted to make the move to Colorado – something he believes that will make him the best version of himself.
“I had to move into an RV to come out here to Colorado, just because the cost of living is so high out here,” he said. “I wanted to train at Factory X, so that’s the move I had to make.”
Now healthy and settled in fully at Factory X, the focus moves to reminding people what made him such an exciting signing. It’s been 18 months since he flatlined TeeJay Britton in 73 seconds to make his way to the UFC, and he’s looking to show those skills once again and even some more.
“It’s hard because I feel a lot of people have forgot about me and what I’m about,” Dulgarian said. “Sometime you step back and these things happen for a reason. I’ve been doing nothing but getting better, so we’re going to get a good showcase in my upcoming fight.”
He’ll face Francis Marshall in his actual debut. Marshall is 1-1 in the UFC, but Dulgarian feels he might even be a tougher test than his original opponent would have been. Still, he has big plans for the fight.
“I would hope to get another first round finish. I know it’s a tough task,” he said. “But I’d like to be 10-0 (pro and amateur) with all first round finishes.”
Doing that would certainly put him back on the radar of UFC fans and could possibly net him a much needed 50k. You can see him in his efforts to do so as part of the UFC Vegas 78 prelims. Those air this Saturday at 4pm EST on ESPN+.
You can hear the entire audio of this interview at 32:09.